Last month I found out that my pint-sized friend was turning 3 in mid-June. Her parents got her a play kitchen and asked for presents that would go along with it. I thought a vintage style apron would be cute, and took off to Joann to get a pattern. I already had a cute fabric that was white with little red apples. For a pattern I chose Simplicity 3949, and used view B which had heart shaped pockets and bib. It was all ok until I had to sandwich rick rack between the pocket and bib layers. I grumbled a bit but it turned out decent enough. The apron looks funny on my dress form, because I think I'm about 3 times the size of my little friend.
After I was finished, I wanted to make something else for my friend. I decided she would need a market bag to go along with her kitchen. I had this ridiculous blue and white checked fabric that my cousin gave me years ago. I had no idea what I would ever use it for, but held onto it 'just in case'. Turns out it was good for a bag! I made up the pattern myself, just two rectangles with boxed corners and straps.
After finishing the birthday presents I still felt the urge to sew, so I found in my boxes of fabric a blouse I had cut out the year before and never got around to sewing. I can't remember why I never bothered to finish it, the pattern was quite simple and easy. A few pleats at the neckline, narrow hems at the sleeve opening and a neck facing. It only took a couple hours before I was finished. The pattern is from Simplicty 2188; one of those wardrobe mix patterns that also includes a skirt, capris, and a vest.
Since it is hot and humid where I live, I've been wanting more skirts. I like to keep my sewing projects relatively easy, so I bought several patterns that had elastic waistbands instead of zippers. For my first skirt I chose Simplicity 1662, view C. I'm not a fan of the bulky elastic and casing waistbands, so I cheated and made it up myself. In fact I don't think I even looked at the directions for this pattern and did it all on my own. I used my newly acquired narrow hem foot to finish the bottom hem. That didn't work out very well for me though, because after one washing I found that the hem didn't roll in all the way and the fabric started to fray. Looks like a redo is in order. You can't really tell from the photo, but the back is a few inches longer than the front. That little detail is really what attTo finish the waist I used the narrow hem foot to finish the edge, then sewed 3/8" near the edge using the 3 step zig zag stitch while stretching the elastic to the width of the skirt fabric. Much more comfortable than adding layers of fabric, and since I typically don't tuck in my shirts nobody would notice. And yeah, it's linen. Looks great when it has been freshly ironed and then you wear it for five minutes and it's all wrinkly. Right now, it is very wrinkly. I'll remedy that after I fix the hem.
My last sewing project is Simplicity 1616 view E. Now when I bought this pattern I was somewhat skeptical. This skirt is made with woven fabric and has an elastic waistband. But in the photo is looks fitted, and with a yoke cut on the bias. I know that woven fabrics will stretch on the bias, but enough that it could pass over my hips? I wasn't sure how well that would work out. But I decided to try it anyway. Now, I am really lousy at making nice and even gathers. I'm even worse at sewing down those gathers with another layer of fabric. Instead of doing the regular basting stitch gathers I used a technique I learned a long time ago when I took sewing classes with my mom. I used a cording foot and fed through a thin and smooth cotton yarn and sewed it on with a wide zig zag stitch. Pulling on the cotton yarn is much easier than pulling on the basting threads, and there is no chance of it breaking. But distributing the gathers evenly is my problem, and I didn't particularly care for the pattern's instructions for determining the correct width. I especially don't like it when the directions say 'stretch yoke to fit' when they just told you to baste the yoke layers together. I found it rather difficult to stretch the yoke so I ended up cutting the basting threads. After sewing and then ripping off the waistband twice, it finally turned out ok on the third try. Like I said, gathers are really not my specialty, and definitely something I need to practice more. Or just buy a gathering foot. Either way, shockingly the skirt *does* stretch enough to go over my hips so I was pleased that all my work wasn't a waste of time. The elastic 'floats' inside the yoke (which didn't thrill me) so I tacked it down with a bit of zig zag stitch on the sides. I have a feeling that if I didn't do that it wouldn't take long for the elastic to roll around and drive me crazy.
I have lots of sewing patterns, but like the knitting patterns I own, they all have elements that I like but are never quite exactly what I'm looking for. It seems like whenever I want something specific I can never find it. For example, I want to make myself a pair of shorts. All I am asking for is a flat front and a side zipper. But apparently that is hard to find. I found some with front openings, or pleats, or other things I didn't want. So what did I finally decide on? I splurged a bit. I usually buy my patterns from the big 4: Simplicity, McCall, Butterick and Vogue. But today I stepped out and decided I will try a couple patterns from Colette, in particular the Iris shorts. They are just what I was looking for. Nice flat front and pockets that won't make my wide hips look any wider. I've read good things about Colette sewing patterns, so I decided to try it out. Of course I didn't want to just get one pattern, because I'm weird like that and I think if I'm going to pay for shipping then I should get at least two things. I'm a sucker for vintage style dresses and I absolutely fell in love with the Crepe dress. Beautiful full skirt and a sweetheart neckline. Best part? No zipper. Wraps in the back, which I think is really interesting. I already have fabric waiting to be made into this dress.